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Flags and photo cleans

Another wet start to the day and a very soggy site, too wet to clean up for a photograph until it had time to dry out, so we decided to use the time productively and visit our friends from the UHI, who are digging at Skaill Farm just up the coast from us. Dan Lee, one of the site co-directors, was kind enough to give our team a tour, they have a substantial post-medieval building sitting on an earlier settlement mound:

After Skaill we carried on up to St Mary's Kirk, a 16th century ruinous church built on the site of an earlier, possibly 12th or 13th century, church, with carved red sandstone blocks from the earlier building built into the walls. A large collection of carved red sandstone from here, and the adjacent site of the Wirk, were built into various ornamental features at Trumland House, the new Laird's house in Rousay, in the 19th century. There's a few pieces of carved red sandstone still sitting on the wall head, which as you can see Daisy was taking a keen interest in, nice to see that someone was paying attention to my little site tour:

We did a loop round via Midhowe tomb, then headed back up the hill and along the track to site, where it was by now just about dry enough to start to clean up, after a bit of judicious sponging, Jackie and Tom got to work in structure 6, Tom in his faithful digging trousers that he's worn every season he's been at Swandro. Last year he finally dumped them before heading back home to America, but the team thought Tom just wouldn't be Tom without them so they were retrieved, carefully conserved and curated, and handed back to him on his arrival, and now he has to wear them, otherwise we'd just be jinxed:

The excavation of the little smelting hearth continued, here cleaned up for its close up, loads of tapping slag coming out of it, and today its final samples taken for archaeomagnetic dating:

In typical Orkney fashion we ended the day with brilliant sunshine and tropical heat, so managed to get a shot of Mikhel operating the total station with a suitably sunny background, which makes a change from yesterday when they were scrounging around for anything absorbent that they could dry it all off with.

We've got our days off now so hopefully the weather will settle down a bit for next week, tune in again on Sunday for another exciting instalment.


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